Pittsburgh seems to rack up “most affordable” and “most livable” rankings the way Meryl Streep racks up Oscar nods. However, the city is rapidly becoming less affordable in terms of housing costs, reports Public Source. Rents are rising faster than renters’ income. New developments are outside most Pittsburgh residents’ price range. And the city has fewer income-restricted apartments than people who need them.
Since becoming mayor, Bill Peduto has put affordable housing on the list of his priorities and recently introduced a series of executive orders urging public and private entities to make progress on the issue. City leaders are looking for ways to put money and accountability behind the initiatives.
In the summer of 2015, LG Realty Advisors issued notices to the residents of the Penn Plaza Apartment complex to get out in 90 days. Since 1966, the 312-unit East Liberty complex that LG Realty owns had offered below-market rents — provisions legally enshrined in ownership of the property because the city completed construction using funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Residents had been paying $400 to $800 a month. A few years after that covenant expired, new luxury apartments and chain stores began encroaching on the neighborhood. LG Realty wanted to bulldoze to build a complex anchored by higher-end residences and a Whole Foods. The result has been an uproar over gentrification and a protracted legal conflict with the city.